It’s become a bit of an ongoing joke in this industry that ‘this will be the year of the mobile’, as someone has boldly claimed this pretty much every year since around 2009. User behaviour has of course completely ignored marketer predictions, so instead of surging forward in a single year, mobile has grown steadily year-on-year. So now mobile and tablet in the UK now account for more than half of all web access, and the vast majority of this is via an app. That makes around half of all potential online engagement with customers going through app.
Additionally, users are increasingly using app as the preferred route to both interact with advertisers and make purchases, with 44% of all ecommerce purchases coming via app.
It’s easy to see why. Apps streamline the purchase process, they act as a personalised shopping experience for the user. Functionality such as stored payment methods, stored wishlists and personalised recommendations make it very easy for a user to browse and shop.
With nearly 60% of users using an app in-store, it can be used to facilitate the bricks and mortar shopping experience too.
For advertisers, the value of this information can’t be overestimated. It can become a rich repository of personal data, offering the ability for true one-to-one communication and making it a powerful CRM tool.
Despite all this, a comprehensive app strategy is still quite low on the agenda for most advertisers. Because of this, 2020 is not the year of the mobile, but hopefully it will be the year advertisers start to give more focus to their app strategy.
But if a marketer wants to build engagement with customers through their app, they need to make a concerted effort. Doing nothing not only will leave you left behind competitors, but can actually start to be damaging, as 28% of users will actively delete an app if there is poor user experience.
To put in place a comprehensive app strategy, advertisers need to address multiple advertising campaign objectives. They need to think specifically about how they will drive app downloads as well as increase frequency of usage. But just as important and often overlooked, is how campaigns can encourage more direct engagement by deep linking to specific products or categories.
However, it's not sufficient to just plan a number of campaigns, mobile specific technology is needed to execute them. Advertisers will need to link their ad server and attribution tools to the SDK. On top of that first-party app data will need to be integrated with pre-existing first- party data processes.
So, if they don’t already have experienced internal resource, advertisers need agency or specialist help to make sure they are staying competitive in 2020 and ensure an increasing focus on app.
James Coulson, Managing Partner, Strategy
This article is part of the Digital Media Trends 2020 series, read more trends here.